Do you know what to check for on your prescriptions? Wait a minute, do you take a moment to check? If you answered no, don’t freak out. Many moms don’t, but I want to change that.
I don’t want you or anyone in your family to take the wrong thing, take someone else’s medication, or think you’re taking a medication correctly when you’re not. I’m sure you don’t either.
It starts by getting comfortable with communicating at the doctor’s office. Why the doctor? Well, here’s the typical sequence of events.
You visit the doctor or prescribing practitioner at some point. Next, you may have a nurse that calls in the prescription to the Pharmacist unless the doctor does it directly.
Sometimes my doctor gets all fancy pants and will electronically send my prescription order directly to the pharmacist. Pharmacists love that by the way because we don’t have to decode handwriting.
So, let’s say at this point you head to the pharmacy, probably have to wait a while, finally pick up your prescription and head home to start taking it without a second thought.
Need help starting?
Look at this love note I wrote you about which questions to ask the pharmacist. That will help get the convo rolling and should really help with exercising your 5 rights. I included some free printables in that post and I’ll show you how to snag one for this post too!
Okay, so here are my questions about your current process…
- Does the doctor tell you something like “I’m going to give you an antibiotic” but not specify which one?
- Were you told what could happen if you take your medication at the wrong time of day?Were you told what time to take it?
- What about complete directions on how many to take?
These are all small discussion points that are often overlooked but have the capability to cause serious error or poor user experience. Another result could be less than optimal outcomes.
One and done
I don’t want any of this for you and your family. If you’re going to take medication, then I want you to get the most out of your therapy the first time and move on healthy. We’ll get to how to do that in a moment.
Many times, people have to repeat therapy because it wasn’t effective enough the first time. You know what that means?
Another trip to the doctor and / or pharmacy and more meds. More meds can mean less susceptibility to its effectiveness and increased chances of side effects.
I want you to know your pharmacy rights. Not rights as in constitutional rights, but these are some of the most important things you should be aware of and confirming every single time you get your prescriptions. This needs to become a habit.
When I asked a few moms about this, so many said they never thought to look at their prescription label or talk confirm their medication with the pharmacist.
You can play a vital role
Sometimes we just feel helpless, at the mercy of hoping someone prescribes and fills the right thing.
A little time to double check goes a long way. This is all about empowering moms to know they can have a part in their family’s pharmacy needs and health safety.
Sometimes having a little bit of knowledge and control helps to ease the mind so let’s jump right in.
5 Pharmacy Rights
This seems self-explanatory but you would be shocked how many people blindly open a pill bottle and start popping them back. Just give the medication label a look and make sure that it is in fact your name on there.
Often the doctor will tell you the type of medication they are prescribing such as a pain killer, antibiotic or blood pressure pill. Use this opportunity to get more specific.
Ask your doctor for the actual name of your medication so you can compare at the pharmacy when you pick it up. This one can be a little tricky because there are brand and generic named medications.
There may be one brand name with 5 different generic equivalents. Let’s take Tylenol for example as the brand name. Now think of all the drug stores out there having their own generic version.
The doctor typically only writes for the brand name and the pharmacy electronic system, pharmacist or insurance company will determine the generic.
Pro tip : you can request a specific generically equivalent medication as well. Just note it may not be covered by insurance or readily available. At the very least you can communicate with the pharmacist, “hey there, my doctor said she was giving me a prescription for Tylenol, is acetaminophen the generic?”
Some meds are best taken at night because they are the absolute most inconvenient and annoying to take at night.
For example, a diuretic at night at night would suck because you would be getting up to pee all throughout the night and lose the precious sleep you worked so hard to get.
Then there are some meds that work the best first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Let’s say you were supposed to take that med first thing in the morning, but you didn’t and it didn’t work as well.
Your doctor may think your dose needs to be increased and now you’re taking more than you need. See how that can happen?
Not all medications are this tricky when it comes to time, but it’s always good to double check so you get the best result the first time.
This dosage thing can be sneaky on medications so this one you really want to pay attention to. It’s not hard, it can just slide past in the thick of the hurry that is mom life.
Make sure you speak with your doctor about the total strength of the dose you need to take.
For example, she may tell you to take 30mg or 1 pill, but all the Pharmacist can get is 15mg and the label says take two. If you just take one pill like the doctor said and don’t confirm with the label, then you could take the wrong dose.
As you can see, this one can be as simple as reading the label on your prescription bottle and following up with your pharmacist as needed.
Okay, so route just means the method used for taking the medication. It can be orally, a shot, or even a cream for the skin.
This is probably the least likely to get messed up. Again, just recall what the doctor said and do a quick label check to confirm.
Common thread among the rights
Did you notice a trend? Your goal is to have conversation with your doctor about these 5 points so that you know what to confirm at the pharmacy.
Pro tip: Always check your medication labels! Teach your family how to confirm these 5 rights on their medication labels as well.
Don’t lose faith in your pharmacist! I’m a pharmacist and I’ve made mistakes.
Have faith knowing that these 5 rights are typically used as a standard for safe medication practices. The technology these days is on our side and provides lots of checks and balances, but it’s always best to double check.
Mistakes happen, it could be due to many factors listed below, so it never hurts to double check. The goal is to look at the systems and procedures set in place first because human error is, well, human. If you catch anything your healthcare team will be very thankful and glad you’re okay.
Free printable gifts
I don’t expect you to remember all of this when you’re busy, fresh off of work caring for your loved ones and ready to get home from the pharmacy. I’ve been there. You can get a printable of these 5 rights for your convenience.
Just sign up below for free and you will be given immediate access to it. Make it convenient for yourself so you have these 5 rights handy when you need it most.
Are you ready?
I want you to understand your medications and feel empowered to take care of your family and keep them safe. Do you feel confident having these discussions with your healthcare team? Leave me a comment and let me know!
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